Sowing seeds is the simple process of beginning a plant’s growth indoors so as to give it a greater chance of surviving once transferred to the outdoors. This is great if you’re interested in growing particularly sensitive plants or if you live in colder climates. If you’re living in Pittsburgh, sowing seeds provides an avenue of raising many more plants than you might be able to do otherwise (excluding greenhouses… but isn’t that large-scale sowing anyways?). I talk about this more here, so do check it out if you’re interested 🙂
Before you start sowing your seeds, it’s important to consult your seed packets to see what the planting instructions are for each plant. Something you should look out for is what the planting date recommendations are, you wouldn’t want to start a plant too soon or too late in the season or it may not develop fully. Before sowing, you should also secure clean containers to plant in. Home depot offers starting kits like this and this one but you could likely find the same success using egg cartons or any other small container of your choice. Paper egg cartons are awesome since they’re typically biodegradable and can be planted directly into the ground. On that note, I’m sure you could even plant seeds directly into egg shells and then plant those into the Earth instead, just make sure they have drainage holes. A final preparatory step is to label (!!!) your plants/containers.
Almanac.com recommends a potting mix of soilless peat moss combined with equal parts vermiculite and perlite (to maximize water retention and oxygen flow). After mixing the “soil” (not actually soil) you should add water to dampen the mixture and fill your containers with it just below full. You should then plant your seeds according to individual package instructions (you can typically press the seed into the soil [not too deep!!] with your finger or pencil but it’s safest to consult the package). You should then cover the containers with plastic wrap with small holes poked in it to allow ventilation and water to enter. You should then carefully water your seedlings, keeping in mind how gentle they are. Instead of pouring water directly on them, try using a spray bottle or a water dropper. Place your container(s) in a warm place until seedlings sprout, at which point you should move the containers into direct sunlight and remove the plastic wrap. Once you start to see more growth, you should plant the seedlings in individual pots, keeping them out of direct sunlight for a few days, before transferring them outdoors. Good luck !!! 🌞🌈